How the Other AL East Teams Should React to the Red Sox’s Recent Additions
Over the course of the past two weeks, the Boston Red Sox have been very active in the trade market, first by acquiring Aaron Hill from the Milwaukee Brewers, then by adding Brad Ziegler in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Most recently, Dave Dombrowksi made a bold move to acquire lefty Drew Pomeranz from the San Diego Padres in exchange for highly-regarded pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza. With these additions, the Red Sox have improved all three major areas of need: bench depth, the bullpen, and the rotation. Dombrowski may or may not be done dealing, but regardless of what he does moving forward, the pressure has been put on the remaining teams in the AL East to make moves to improve their own rosters. The Orioles may have been leading the division entering play Sunday, but they have needs of their own, and both the Red Sox and Blue Jays are hot on their trail. The Yankees and Rays, on the other hand, may be falling out of the race, but still have reason to be active as the trade deadline nears.
Given the increase in trade market activity in recent weeks, I would like to look at which moves each remaining team in the AL East should make before the trade deadline, whether that means to improve their playoff chances, or to plan for 2017 and beyond. Below, you will find three tables showing both hitting and pitching statistics for each AL East team (numbers courtesy of FanGraphs). Notice which team ranks first in each table. Hint: the leaders for OPS, starting pitcher ERA, and bullpen ERA are each a different playoff contender.
*All records and stats as of the start of play on Sunday, July 17th.
Baltimore Orioles, 53-36, .596, 43 RDif, 1st in AL East
Trade for Oakland LHP Rich Hill
Don’t look too much into the fact that the Orioles are currently in first place in the standings. While Baltimore’s offense is legit, owning the highest isolated slugging number in the East with a .194 mark, they have some serious concerns in their starting rotation. Despite a very good first half from staff Ace Chris Tillman (13-2, 3.29 ERA) the O’s still rank last in the division with a 5.10 staff ERA. Behind Tillman, the rotation has not been so pretty for the Orioles, and even Tillman himself may be pitching above his capabilities, as he sports a 4.23 FIP.
The Athletics reportedly asked the Red Sox for Anderson Espinoza in exchange for Rich Hill, but Boston instead sent Espinoza to San Diego for Drew Pomeranz. Oakland’s asking price is certainly a steep one, but it makes sense that they would want so much for a starter who has accumulated a 2.25 ERA and 10.7 K/9 rate through 76 innings in 2016. Hill would be a welcome addition to the Baltimore rotation, but only if they can avoid parting with top prospect Hunter Harvey. A couple of next level prospects, however, may be enough to get a deal done, as Oakland knows that it needs to cash in on Hill before he becomes a free agent at season’s end. Max even covered a possible A’s-O’s trade match back in May.
Please visit Off The Bench to continue reading Alex Vacca’s post about what the Rays, Blue Jays and Yankees Should Do Next.